JASON WHITLOCK: Listen, I think, I'm not going to disparage Adrian's report. Adrian Wojnarowski's report on the NBA is really rock solid. What I think could happen is the truth could be somewhere in the middle. Not as intense as maybe Adrian has said, but I can see Danny Green and the rest of those Spurs players, like, oh, man, that's not a good look for us.
And so he's trying to walk it back, and it wasn't that, we weren't trying to tell Kawhi what to do. But whether Danny Green is right or whether Adrian's report is 100% accurate, what we do know is there was a players' only meeting, where it seems like Kawhi's health was addressed. And to me, that's out of bounds.
When you're talking about this much money, and this man's future, these players need to leave that to the coach, and the organization, and Kawhi Leonard. I would not want Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, any of these players that are at the end of their career, who are desperate, oh, we got to get Kawhi back out here or I'm going to end on a bad note, I don't want them any way involved.
And I could see a scenario where Pop gassed them up to do it. And I think it's all wrong. They're trying to put pressure on this kid. It's his health, it's his future. You've injected this much money into pro sports. The guy's going to be very careful because he's not going to ruin the rest of his career. All of this, to me, whether it was intense, or whether it was nice, all of it out of bounds.
CHRIS BROUSSARD: I think it depends on how they approached him. I agree, if they sat him down, and were like, look, man, you look ready to us. We need you out there. What are you doing? The doctors cleared-- if that's the way they came at it, that's wrong.
If it was like the "San Antonio News Express" reported, that it wasn't a tense meeting, if it was a meeting of Kawhi, we've been playing three on three, four on four, you look good, like are you ready? Like, can you get out there? What do you think? How close are you?
If it was more of that, I don't really have a problem with it. And I will say this too-- you may disagree-- I don't think Manu Ginobili called out Kawhi. I know a people
JASON WHITLOCK: In his quotes?
CHRIS BROUSSARD: Yeah, I don't believe that. I believe--
JASON WHITLOCK: You don't think that was calling--
CHRIS BROUSSARD: I don't think that was a call out. I think Manu Ginobili was simply stating a fact. If you are an athlete, you cannot be looking out of the side of your eyes for somebody else to come and save you. The best thing for the San Antonio Spurs players is to play like Kawhi is not coming back.
If he does come back, it's gravy, and it's great. But their mentality has got to be it's us 12, that's it, no Kawhi. And since they did that, that's when they went on this winning streak. Before, when they were losing-- remember there was the report out by Lisa Salters that Kawhi's coming back. I think they were feeling like our man is coming back, we'll be good. So I don't think that was a call out. I think that was a statement of fact.
JASON WHITLOCK: He did say for me, Kawhi's not coming back. But there were some other, I thought, subtle potshots about-- that seemed to infer he needed to make himself more a part of the team even while he's nursing this injury. I thought that was a shot. And again, that's what makes me think Pop has gassed up some of these veterans and everybody's turned on Kawhi, and I think that's inappropriate.
JASON MCINTYRE: I would agree that's what's happening, but I'm all for this meeting. I'm 100% for it. Listen, desperate times call for desperate measures. And the Spurs are desperate. When they're going in practice three on three against Kawhi, and he's performing great, and he's still saying I'm injured, and that the training staff is saying he's good, ready to go, there's a problem.
I don't think Kawhi Leonard wants to be there right now. Is that not the only take away from this? Wait a sec, the training staff's telling me I'm healthy. I don't feel right. My teammates are coming at me. Popovich called me out during the All-Star break.
This is all very bad. In San Antonio, I know everybody loves to defend Popovich. He's 69 years old. He's been coaching in the NBA for, I believe, since 1996 with the Spurs. He's near the end. People don't want to say that. He's near the end. For Kawhi Leonard, I don't think he wants to be there.
JASON WHITLOCK: I'm going to make this personal and go all the way back to my mediocre college career and my mediocre effort as a college player. And so the coaching staff, particularly the head coach and the team doc, I think well-intentioned, wanting to push me-- during the spring, I tore my ACL. And they said, oh, you just stressed it, it wasn't torn.
And so everybody was on me-- Whitlock's being lazy, and they pushed, pushed, pushed. And I played my senior season with a torn ACL. Soon as the season was over though, I went to my own doctor, and he was-- within five minutes, he goes yeah, your ACL is torn, let's do a scope, and blah, blah, blah.
CHRIS BROUSSARD: They didn't tell you it was torn?
JASON WHITLOCK: No.
JASON MCINTYRE: So they lied to you.
JASON WHITLOCK: No, they didn't lie. They misdiagnosed, or fudged, or pushed, or whatever. And again, I'm not demonizing anybody. But I'm just saying, as a player you have to look out for yourself. You have to know your own body. It can't be your teammates and what they see, it can't be the team doctors, it can't be Popovich. Kawhi Leonard has got to trust what he believes is best for Kawhi Leonard.
JASON MCINTYRE: This is also a guy who's has never played 75 or more games in the league. He's in his seventh year. I think there's a history here of Kawhi maybe being-- allegations that he's soft. Maybe there is some of that. This is one of the best two-way players in the league. I'm not taking anything away. But when your coach, your training staff, and your teammates are all saying, dude, we need you, what's going on, there's a problem.
CHRIS BROUSSARD: He's been a guy, ever since he's been in the league, San Antonio will tell you this, that he feels like he has to be 110% to go play. Before this injury, he felt like he doesn't want to play through nagging injuries. And this is the greatest example of that.
But as you said, look, the Spurs training staff is one of the more cautious in the league. We see them resting players, sitting players out. But, like you said, trainers with teams may have an ulterior motive. They want to get you out there on the court, whereas your own doctor, who's outside of the team, he has no motivation to tell you a lie.
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